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Post-merge, this season of Survivor still can't find its groove

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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • It’s very enjoyable to watch Joe respect the move that was made last week, even if it was against him. That’s the kind of game respect I like watching.
  • Lauren finds an advantage that allows her to “save” her vote for a future Tribal Council. The trick is that she has to sneak the advantage scroll into the voting urn in order to use it. This era of throwing up new types of advantages and seeing what sticks is certainly an interesting thing.
  • Cole put the reward challenge spaghetti on a towel to hide an immunity clue, because food being served on a towel is perfectly normal. Ryan hiding the entire plate is ridiculous but at least a more successful attempt.
  • The most enjoyable thing about the idol clue situation is the way Ryan coolly finds the idol once they get back to camp and then somehow ends up watching everyone else fight to dig it up. While he stands there with the idol in his pants and a fake look of confusion on his face. That’s the way you use chaos to your advantage.
  • Once Cole wins immunity, it’s declared that the comes down to the remaining Heroes versus the remaining Healers, with the remaining Hustlers caught in the middle.
  • But even though the Hustlers are said to be the swing votes in the middle, it really comes down to Joe against Ben, with not a lot of talk about anything else. The entire discussion—when it’s not Ben and Joe yelling at each other—comes down to who has an idol and splitting votes the correct way to come out on top, with Lauren’s no vote advantage as the wild card.
  • “I hope using this works for me some how, some way.” The sacred prayer of every Survivor advantage holder. Amen.
  • Joe against Ben instead morphs at Tribal into a tie vote between Joe and Desi, with Desi getting voted out on the subsequent re-vote. Because of course.
  • The best part of this episode was Lauren subtly flicking her re-vote scroll off the table. Here’s hoping the missing vote in the first round gets loudly questioned in the next episode because despite a lot of things happening, this episode was still fairly boring. This season can’t really grasp onto an overall storyline or narrative arc for any of its players, and the strain of that is definitely showing.